Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
How do you react to suffering? No really, let’s all take a second to answer that. How do you react to suffering? Do you immediately talk to your friends/family about it? Do you shut down? Do you turn to the Lord, trusting in his plan? Do you blame the Lord for your struggle? How do you react to suffering?
Now as much as I would like to say that I trust God so perfectly that I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is always with me in good times and in bad, the truth is that nine times out of ten when life gets hard, the first thing I do is question whether or not God is even there. I have gone to the Lord in prayer and yelled at him for abandoning me more times than I’d like to admit.
As I was praying through today’s Gospel, I was struck by the reality that (even if just subconsciously) I tend to assume that the Lord cannot be found in the midst of suffering; that when we suffer, when I suffer, it must mean that God has left me behind, or even forgotten me. That suffering is somehow an indicator of how far the Lord is from me.
But in today’s Gospel reading, Luke offers us a clear picture of the reality of suffering in Mary’s encounter with Simeon who tells her: “you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” He predicts how she will suffer alongside the Lord (pointing, of course, to his Passion and death), that she will endure hardship with Him. She will suffer with Him so intensely, in fact, that it will be as if a sword were piercing her own heart.
And if Mary, who is closer to God than anyone, is not a stranger to sorrow, then maybe the reality is that suffering is not the punishment for the sinful, but the privilege of the friends, of those closest to the Lord. St. Teresa of Avila once said, “we always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the greatest trials.” So we turn to Our Lady today, and ask her to help us to always seek to find Christ in the midst of our suffering.
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us and teach us to suffer well. Amen.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What suffering have you experienced or are experiencing in your life?
Do you trust that God is with you, even if you feel abandoned?
How can you let God into your life to help you see that He is truly there?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Lord, you are here."
"Lord, I trust in your plan."
"Lord, strengthen me."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Today spend time with Our Lady in prayer. Meditate on her seven sorrows and ask for her intercession in times of trial that you may be given all that you need to persevere through suffering and offer it up to God.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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